Remembering Jo Cox MP

The team at MAP were saddened to hear about the tragic death of Jo Cox MP. 

She frequently spoke out in Parliament on issues in Palestine. Below is her intervention on Gaza made last year. 

Jo Cox (Batley and Spen) (Lab): As a former Oxfam aid worker for many years, I have worked for far too long on and in the conflict that we are debating, but I still believe that there will be a resolution in my lifetime—hopefully in the next few years.

Because of the time constraints, I will focus on three things. First, I would love a response from the Minister about what confidence-building action the Government are taking, particularly on Gaza. The Gaza reconstruction mechanism is clearly not working, but it is also not a substitute for easing the closure. There is a need for urgent expansion of access to Israeli markets for Palestinian exports. What measures are the Government taking to that end? We also need to remove the last restrictions on the export of Gazan products to the west bank.

I would like construction materials to be allowed into Gaza urgently. The facts are clear: only one home has been rebuilt in the past year, since the bombing, and the projections are that it will take hundreds of years to rebuild at the current rate. There is a need for materials to get into Gaza so that people can rebuild their lives. What is the Government’s view on that?

In addition, people need to get in and out of Gaza. In 2000 about 500,000 people were leaving and returning to Gaza, for work or to see family members. This year the number is 18,000, which is very low, and we need to raise it quickly. We also need the Israeli Government to continue to believe that there will be a cost to their allowing further settlement expansion in the west bank. I would love to know what the Government are doing to get that message clearly heard by the Israeli Government. I would be interested also in the Government’s view of the Israeli Government’s silent policy of retrospectively legalising illegal outposts.

Finally, the allegations—including allegations of war crimes—in the commission of inquiry’s report must be investigated fully by Israel and Hamas. Both sides of the conflict deserve access to justice and accountability. For the most part domestic mechanisms and investigations are poor; they are either rejected quickly or not run to international standards. Indeed, the report notes that Israel has a

“lamentable track record in holding wrong doers accountable”

and that investigation by Hamas is “woefully inadequate”. Following the UK’s welcome endorsement of the report last week, I would love to hear what the Government intend to do to support international mechanisms to pursue justice and accountability, particularly in relation to preliminary work by the International Criminal Court.

Featured image: The team at MAP were saddened to hear about the tragic death of Jo Cox MP.  She frequently spoke out in Parliament on issues in Palestine.

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